Although there is no official timetable for the hiring of a new head football coach at West Virginia University, the process of doing so is proceeding at a rapid pace.
The common misconception among many fans is that a timetable is the first thing set when hiring a new coach. While officials would like to see the process completed as quickly as possible, a drop dead date is not something that the school has set. Instead, West Virginia will proceed apace with discussions and interviews as it finds an replacement for the departed Rich Rodriguez. However, it would not be a surprise to see a new coach named before West Virginia's Jan. 2 date with Oklahmoa in the Fiesta Bowl.
In the latest developments, one candidate appears to be off the board while others could be moving on, or perhaps up, the charts.
Florida State assistant Jimbo Fisher, thought to be a top candidate, is apparently out of the running after signing a new contract with Florida State that calls for a $2.5 million buyout if he leaves the school. The timing of the new deal, announced just a couple of weeks ago, was also a factor in Fisher's turndown.
Terry Bowden, long a supporter of West Virginia, was reportedly in Morgantown for meetings with WVU officials, according to multiple sources outside the WVU program. He remains one of the strongest candidates for the position.
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, long tabbed as a potential head coach, is expressing interest via his agent, in the ritual dance that typically occurs before a coach officially throws his hat into the ring. An interview with Foster is expected.
Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones is also a name to keep an eye on. While not known nationally like Bowden or Foster, Jones enjoyed his tenure as a West Virginia assistant and could take another huge step up the coaching latter at WVU.
One new name to surface was Penn State defensive coordiantor Tom Bradley. Long thought to be a successor to Joe Paterno, Bradley was also contacted by an intermediary, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Two-time Mountaineer assistant Rick Trickett is also a strong candidate who has also been contacted, and might be atop the list along with Bowden. Trickett has not expressed interest in many head coaching positions, preferring the nuts and bolts day-to-day work with players. However, the chance to head up the program in his home state could be one that is too tempting to pass up.
Finally, current New Orleans assistant coach George "Duke" Henshaw has publicly expressed his interest as well, accorind to longtime WVU beat writer Mickey Furfari. Henshaw was also interested in the position in 2000, when Rodriguez was the odds-on favorite from the start to replace Don Nehlen.
Stay tuned to BlueGoldNews.com for more coverage throughout the day as the process continues to unfold.